Just passing along the poll all of the data nerds on Twitter were oohing and ahhing over this afternoon. This is *some* gender gap. You could fly a 747 through this chasm with room to spare on either side for a puddlejumper or two.
Men favor a Republican Congress by eight points, women favor a Democratic one by … 25. A 33-point swing in the battle of the sexes, with a brutal SCOTUS confirmation battle over Roe on tap later this summer. It’s true that women typically aren’t any more pro-abortion than men (in this same poll they favored upholding Roe by nearly identical percentages) but we’ll see if the Democratic/media messaging machine has any influence over that. Particularly if Amy Barrett is the nominee and Roe looks poised to die at the end of a pen wielded by a woman, the “war on women” propaganda will soon be churning at a rate of speed not seen in decades. Between the Roe bloodletting and the child separation fracas, it’s easier to see Republican numbers dipping a bit further with women than improving.
Particularly young women. Sifting through Quinnipiac’s data this afternoon, the political research director at Pew noted that his firm also spotted a gargantuan gender gap last month — but not among men and women generally. Rather, among younger men and women:
New attention on gender gap in midterm vote with today's @QuinnipiacPoll. Last month, we found an especially wide gender gap among younger (18-34) voters. @HotlineJosh https://t.co/gYY4xc3ir0 pic.twitter.com/K4GWSLXHT6
— Carroll Doherty (@CarrollDoherty) July 2, 2018
Just shy of a 50-point gap. All of which, actually, may lead to a counterintuitive conclusion about the coming nominee. One of the reasons the righty commentariat favors Barrett, I think, is because in theory appointing a woman might help the GOP at the margins with women voters. I’m not so sure. A woman justice will be attacked by liberals more viciously than a man would, just as Clarence Thomas has been attacked by them more viciously than white conservative justices have. There’s an element of “treason” when members of groups that traditionally support Democrats cross the aisle and are elevated by Republicans. What’s the net effect for the GOP on public opinion, particularly among women, from confirming a woman justice and then having that person treated like Ilse Koch overnight by huge swaths of the Democratic Party? Good or bad?
Here’s another result that surprised me, although maybe it shouldn’t:
Heavy majorities of Democrats and independents want a Congress that’ll serve as a check on Trump, whereas a majority of Republicans … also want that. Huh. Maybe that’s the sort of question where people can’t bring themselves to say what they really want because they know it’ll sound bad: “Yes, I want Congress to do whatever the president wishes!” Plenty of Republicans *are* willing to say that, in fact, but it may be that there’s still a majority that finds that idea a bit too close to dictatorship for comfort, at least when it moves from impulse to fully formed political preference. I wonder, though, if you phrased this in terms of Congress “staying out of Trump’s way” or whatever whether it might draw majority support on the right. It could be a checks-and-balances version of Trump shooting someone on Fifth Avenue. Ask people if they’d support that in the abstract and of course they’ll tell you no. But if Trump went and did it, the excuses would start instantly: It was self-defense. He was provoked!
One more. No good omens in this result either:
For most Republicans this is an “as usual” midterm — not a bad thing per se given how the last two midterms have gone, but still. For most Democrats this is a “vote or die” midterm. Gulp. Relatedly, the tightening of the generic ballot in the RCP average that I wrote about repeatedly in May is gone now, rising from a 3.2-point Democratic advantage at the start of the month to exactly double that, 6.4, now. I don’t think that’s a product of any single policy, including child separation, as the Dems are merely hovering around the 46 percent mark, which is where they’ve been for much of this year. It may be that the tightening in May was just a blip and a six- or seven-point Democratic lead is the default before the midterms. That’s not a disastrous margin if so, and may not even prevent Republican gains in the Senate, but it’s not far from disaster territory. Any bad surprises for Trump and the GOP this summer would be dangerous. As would a bad public reaction to the SCOTUS nominee, needless to say.